Overdue debate in the Guardian

On Fri 15 Aug, the Guardian featured an article on the “noisy row” between librarians on either side of the overdue fines debate. The article provides an overview of the issues surrounding fines within a UK wide context and also points to some interesting alternatives. According to the report, a New Zealand library is using a Guitar Hero challenge to settle overdue fines.

Palmerston City Library held their Guitar Hero Amnesty on Mon 18 Aug, inviting teenage library users with overdue books to take on the Overdues Librarian to songs by Alice Cooper and Poison. If victorious, the young people could have their existing fines waived. This is certainly an innovative approach to dealing with fines and a good example of how video games are being used to attract young people to public libraries (although many Scottish libraries do not charge children or young people for overdues).

Any suggestions or examples of innovative alternatives to fines would be welcomed.

The ‘for and against library fees’ debate continues at the Guardian books blog.


One Response

  1. The Guardian article originates from the very interesting discussion on library fines on the LIS-PUB-LIBS JISCmail list. There are those who see fines as an income generator for libraries. I am of the opinion however that libraries should put customer service first and foremost. Fines seem to have become an automatic part of library services. Lets not forget what the point of fines was to begin with – a way to help ensure people bring back books on time. Why has fining not moved with the times as other areas of library services have?

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